Galway Euros 2011: Press review 2

Datum: 18. August 2011
Kategorie: Themen, Turniere

Furor on the web about the ESL final motion and more blogs and articles that report from the European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC or Euros): That’s what we found for you on the internet.

There’s a heated debate going on on Facebook. People have already founded groups with disgraceful names to mock the motion of the ESL final „This house believes that God exists“. Since this was the initiative of Dutch debaters, the Nederlandse Debatbond felt the need to feature an argumentation about the motion and why it was fair, or not so fair. On Achte Minute, you may find Manos Moschopoulosfull article entitled „What if God was one of us?“ in reply to Eric Stam’s essay inteded to proof why this was a bad motion, especially for the ESL circuit.

Eric went:

„This motion requires very specific knowledge about non-intuitive argumentation. The only way to practice this motion is by practicing this motion. It’s disproportionally dependent on knowledge one cannot take for granted. This motion is especially hard, for instance, for debaters coming from countries where secularism is strongly institutionalized. […] The motion hardly has any tradition in most debating culture, except maybe in the British/IONA circuit. Debating metaphysics is something we usually don’t do within parliamentary debating. Most debaters have reasonable expectations about the kind of motions they have to debate – something more parliamentary. This particular motion has never come across at tournaments or training weeks such as DAPDI as far as some of us can remember. Those debaters would feel that this motion is the equivalent of saying after the semifinals of Wimbledon: ‘Ok, now in order to determine who the winner is, we are going to play gulf.’“

And Manos went:

„It isn’t really true that the Netherlands (or any place in Europe) are devoid of religious people that are often quite fanatic about their beliefs, quite the opposite – the country’s ‘bible belt‘ pops up on every cartographic attempt to visualize what sort of names parents give their babies, the country was set up on the basis of an uprising against a denomination the locals deemed was not their own and, today, the fact that well educated people turn around and dismiss those arguments as ‘non-intuitive’ raises an alarming point: that we as a community seem to be unable to comprehend and engage with significant parts of our society that eventually will go out and vote for the only people that seem to care about them. Which also happen to be the sort of people that we don’t like.“

Funny enough, another Facebook group was founded as a reaction to the first: „This house believes bitching about motions and judges is disgraceful,and naughty, and bad.“ It’s all pretty much about he-said-she-said… What the Achte Minute may really promise you: It is at least quite entertaining to read through it when you’re a real debater nerd. Plus when you look behind all the ranting, you may really draw something from it.

Back to more serious issues. Or not. The Irish Independent featured an article about Euros last week. It was entitled „Cheryl, Britney and pals are talk of the town“ – those are Cheryl Cole, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, a reference to the motion „This house would not allow the media to cosmetically improve the appearance of individuals“. But there’s also reference to the Irish presidential candidate Michael D. Higgins who gave a very inspiring speech at the opening ceremony which he was rewarded for with standing ovations by all present.

„‚No, there’s no big prize at the end of it — it’s not that sort of competition. Just a trophy — and most importantly — the prestige of being European champions,‘ said [Jaqueline] Driscoll. Presidential hopeful, Michael D Higgins was hardly chasing votes when he did the honours at the opening ceremony. He spoke eloquently as usual about the power of words, many millions of which he’ll be uttering between now and October 27.“

Are we bragging too much when we mention other blogs mentioning us? Well, anyway, thanks to Colm Flynn for the special thanks on his World Debating Website:

“Thanks to the various tweeters on twitter for updates during the tournament but special word of thanks to the team at Achte Minute for the best live coverage.”

To the Anonymous asking on the very same website: No, unfortunately, there wasn’t any live streaming or video taping of the finals in Galway.

The European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC or Euros) have been held annually since 1999. It was started in Rotterdam where 32 teams of two competed for the title. For the records: In Amsterdam, 192 teams competed for the very same title in 2010, in Galway it was 180 teams. Format has ever since been British Parliamentary Style(BPS), language of debate is English. Debaters from all over Europe as well as from Israel and Qatar take part in Euros and compete with each other in two categories: the open break (mostly for native speakers) and “English as a Second Language” (ESL).There is a good chance a team may break in the two categories as happened to be the case with Tel Aviv A this year: They broke first in the ESL break and sixth in the open break.

Current champions are Ben Woolgar and Hugh Burns (Oxford), ESL champions are Sella and Omer Nevo, two brothers from Tel Aviv University. This year’s Euros were held in Galway, located at the western coast of Ireland, from 7 to 13 August. Chief adjudicator was Ruth Faller (Ireland), her deputies wereShengwu Li (Singapore), Simone van Elk (The Netherlands), Steven Nolan (Ireland) and Yoni Cohen Idov (Israel). Isabelle Loewe from Debattierclub Bonn and Tony Murphy (Ireland) served as equity officers. Galway’s tabmaster was Harry McEvansoneya, an Irish as well. During the Euros, the EUDC Council assembled and decide for instance about the host of next year’s championship. Belgrade (Serbia) was assigned hosting the European Universities Debating Championships 2012.

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